Category: Fraud & Financial Abuse
Tags: Litigation


Stipulation Leads to Directed Verdict in Fraud Case

Posted on: February 9th, 2010
Here’s a summary of Burton v. Williams, a recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case (adapted from today’s NAELA eBulletin):
 
Plaintiff sued defendant as attorney-in-fact for decedent, alleging that an addendum and payment agreement release entered into between decedent and defendant regarding the sale of decedent’s property were void and unenforceable.  The grounds were that (1) At the time the documents were signed, decedent lacked the mental capacity to assent to the addendum and release; (2) the agreements were obtained through undue influence and duress; (3) they were procured through fraud; and (4) they were not supported by consideration.  After presenting his evidence, plaintiff moved for a directed verdict, and the court granted on grounds that the release was void and unenforceable for lack of consideration.  Defendant claimed this violated his right to trial by jury. However, because plaintiff established his claim through documentary evidence, which both parties stipulated was authentic and correct, the Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court properly directed the verdict in favor of plaintiff despite plaintiff having the burden of proof at trial. No consideration for the payment agreement was specified, and the document which was the basis of the agreement, as a matter of law, was not a valid contact.  
 
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